- Black sea bass have dangerously sharp spines on their dorsal fin that can puncture human skin.
- The all-tackle world record for black sea bass is 9 pounds, 8 ounces.
- When hooked in deep water and brought quickly to the surface, a black sea bass will often regurgitate its stomach contents.
Red porgy (Pagrus)
Red porgy are medium-sized, humpbacked fish with compact, stocky bodies. They are red with a silver tinge on the body and head. The tail and fins are more of a pinkish color. Small blue spots cover the entire body. While most porgy have slit-like nostrils, the nostrils of red porgy are rounded. The dorsal fins have 12 spines and 1 soft ray. The anal fin has 3 spines and 8 soft rays. Males are much larger than females.
Red porgy are found between 57 degrees north latitude and 38 degrees south latitude. In the western Atlantic red porgy are found between New York and Argentina including the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea. In the eastern Atlantic red porgy can be found between the British Isles to the north and the Straits of Gibraltar to the south. This includes the Madeira and Canary Islands.
Primarily living near reefs and the deeper part of continental shelves, red porgy tend to travel in schools. They are migratory, seldom staying in the same location for any period. Young red porgy are typically found closer to the shore at a depth around 60 feet and are usually found in grass beds. As they mature, the red porgy prefer deeper water between 200 and 600 feet.
These fish are protogynous hermaphrodites, which means that they start life as female and change to male with maturity. Most female red porgy mature in approximately 1 year, then they change into males approximately 5 years later. Red porgy spawn between late winter and early spring. Eggs are laid and scattered on the ocean floor where they are externally fertilized.
Red porgy are carnivorous bottom feeders. They tend to feed in schools and migrate looking for food. Their typical diet is made up of crustaceans, mollusk and small fish. Young red porgy tend to eat plankton and worms and concentrate more on small baitfish as they mature.
Red porgy can be fished for in both shallow and deep water. The best locations are generally over sand or rock bottoms and around underwater structures. Typically, the larger fish are caught from a boat near relatively deep offshore reefs, where the more mature fish live. Anglers often catch red porgy while bottom fishing for grouper and other fish. Additionally, they are migratory fish, so the best time to catch them in northern climes is in spring and summer.
Although they are hard fighting fish, light tackle is often preferred due to the red porgys size. Light- to medium-action spinning rods and reels with 8-to 10-pound line is standard. Worms, shrimp, clams and squid are popular natural baits. Red porgy will often nibble and steal bait, but anglers can avoid having their bait stolen by using the smallest pieces possible on the hook.
- Red porgy are fished commercially and sold fresh and frozen.
- Red porgy are often raised in captivity and can be found in many show aquariums.
- Eating the red porgy has been associated with ciguatera poisoning, a seldom fatal digestive disorder.
- Red porgy have been overfished in many waters, and angling and harvest limits are often highly regulated.